Lizzie Anderson finds contemporary style and home comforts in the heart of historic Edinburgh

WHEN choosing accommodation for a city break, a central location is a must, and a good view is certainly a bonus. However, nothing quite prepared us for the Old Town Chambers in Edinburgh. Located just off the city’s world famous Royal Mile, these luxurious apartments are right at the heart of the action. Just a five-minute walk from the train station and a stone’s throw from the Scottish capital’s shops, attractions and eateries, you couldn't ask for a better spot.

Then there is the view. My boyfriend Peter and I couldn't help but gasp when we walked into our suite of rooms. The sitting room was dominated by a huge window with amazing views across Princess Street and Festival Park and large glass doors opened onto a spacious balcony, where guests can enjoy drinks and meals alfresco on warmer days.

Inside, there was everything we needed for a comfortable stay. The kitchen was fitted with all the latest gadgets and appliances, while the living room boasted two comfortable sofas and a wall-mounted flat-screen television complete with Netflix account. Each apartment in the Old Town Chambers enjoys its own separate WiFi router, meaning we had access to fast and reliable broadband throughout our visit.

The luxurious bathroom, meanwhile, was stocked high quality Cowshed toiletries, and our bedroom featured a comfortable king-size bed, a second flat-screen television and plenty of wardrobe space for our clothes.

It is safe to say, we were very happy with our accommodation, which also proved a fantastic base from which to explore Edinburgh.

When visiting cities, we prefer to go with the flow, and Edinburgh’s historic buildings and lanes are perfect for explorers. We enjoyed visiting the quirky boutiques and antique shops in Victoria Street, a narrow, curved street believe to have inspired JK Rowling’s magical Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. We were also lucky enough to catch the final week of the city’s famous Christmas markets, where there were lots of stalls selling unique gifts and delicious festive treats.

One attraction we did want to visit was the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street. I had been before and was keen to take Peter there. It is hard to believe that entry to this fantastic museum is free as there are so many amazing exhibits to see, including interactive displays for children and the young at heart. I especially enjoyed looking at the museum’s fashion collection, and, as a journalist, I found the communications room very interesting. Peter was more interested in the science and technology exhibits.

We also visited the Scottish National Gallery, located on The Mound in the city centre. The gallery contains fine art spanning many centuries and we were pleased to catch the annual Turner in January exhibition.

Food is a big part of all of my holidays. The great thing about self-catering is that you have the option to stay in or eat out, and we did a bit of both during our stay in Edinburgh. The kitchen had everything we needed to prepare lovely evening meals, but we also enjoyed experiencing some of the city’s restaurants. Our fresh and flavoursome lunch at Harajuku Kitchen, a Japanese bistro on Gillespie Place, was a real treat. We chose from the weekday lunch menu, and devoured delicacies such as harusame salad with glass noodles, edamame beans and crispy wontons, vegetable tempura, miso soup, and chicken skewers with yakitori sauce.

It may not have been traditional Scottish fare, but it was certainly a highlight of our Edinburgh experience.

Fact Box

The Old Town Chambers, Roxburgh's Court, 323 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LW. T: 0131-510-5499; W: Prices start at £129 per night

Harajuku Kitchen, 10 Gillespie Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4HS. T: 0131-281-0526; W: Two-course weekday lunch and pre-theatre menu is £12.95 per person